Day 2: Manchester

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Black Sabbath tour cross

With day one in the books, we woke to a splendid UK morning in the 'Ham. Which, of course, means grey and dreary. The drive to Manchester was only 80 miles or like some amount of kilometers, so we had time to relax and find Andrya some cymbals and Sarah a bass. She uses one for the song “Bad Date”, though, for the first night, she just plugged her guitar into Graham's bass cabinet. Today we were off to find the proper gear.

Our quest took us to two music shops, the second being The House of Rock (who knew we would be at THE house?). There Andrya was able to pick up two cymbals for just £33 and Sarah grabbed a sweet, sweet bass. By which I mean an “De Armond” that has no volume control and looks like it was cut from a massive red wood. But again, it's only for one song and it actually sounds pretty decent. The reason I brought you into the music store with us is so you too could set your sights on the Black Sabbath tour crosses they had on display. You're welcome.

The House of Rock

Sarah Register Talk Normal Bass

After the music shop, we hit the road for Manchester, the UK's second biggest city, to play the University. Maybe we'd see some younger fans at this show. With a late(r) load in of 6pm (I should mention that all of the shows have a 11pm–sometimes 10pm–curfew, so our nights are relatively early) and only 80 miles to cover, we had time to check in to our Travelodge before the show. As you can see, Manchester's Travelodge experience was a bit higher-scale. We even had to swipe our key card to get into the parking lot. #Swag.

Travelodge entrance
The gleaming entrance to our Manchester Travelodge.

Lunch, thanks to Wire's rider.

Though the venue was only half mile away from the hotel, it took us 30 minutes to find it. It was in the student union of the university, which was not clearly labeled. Two trips to the map, a few shout outs to pedestrians and finally a call to the promoter later, we found it. I wish I had a picture of Sarah trying to lift the gate for you. Sadly, only us and the guy managing the gate bore witness, and I guess that's the way it will remain.

A few interesting notes about this show: First of all, like the previous night, it was held on the third floor. In Birmingham we had to carry the gear up all three flights. Tonight we at least had a lift, but still, third floor? Secondly, the venue was holding two other huge shows on this night: KMFDM and Madina Lake, and they all shared the same entrance. Imagine the scene as fat industrial goths, rambunctious screaming tweens and aging punks all waited together in line. The scene only got more surreal as it filtered by our merch table.

This is where I should introduce my partner in crime Gijs (pronounced 'high-as'). Gijs is Wire's merch guy, and we spend most of our evenings chilling at the table waxing poetic about music and our respective home towns. He's from Holland, about midway between Amsterdam and Rotterdam and was quick to point out that Brooklyn is named after the dutch town of Breukelen.

A (very bad) picture of Haish (right) talking to Graham from Wire.

The show was a success for Talk Normal, though not without a few hitches. Andrya's foot pedal broke midway through “Baby Your Heart's Too Big” and Sarah didn't take into account a strap for her bass and was forced to shimmy a makeshift gaffer tape strap. That said, the audience was a bit bigger and the reaction more in line with a university setting. Still, the crowd skewed a tad on the older side and was heavily dominated by men. It's a total sausage fest.

Sarah's vintage tape bass strap.

I wish I had more to share, but this night was rather uneventful in terms of tours; short drive, easy and pretty chill overall. Tomorrow we head to Edinburgh for the first of two nights in Scotland and what we're told is a beautiful four hour, sheep and mountain-filled drive.